In the wake of a public altercation with his wife Pam on Friday, an incident which was investigated by San Francisco police, San Francisco Giants president, CEO and managing partner Larry Baer will take a leave of absence.
Baer — who has been managing general partner since the retirement of Peter Magowan in 2008, and CEO since Bill Neukom stepped down after the 2011 season — requested the leave of absence from the Giants’ Board of Directors.
“The Board of Directors of San Francisco Baseball Associates is closely monitoring the matter involving Giants President and CEO Larry Baer,” the Board said in a statement. “Pursuant to League policy, Major League Baseball is taking the lead in gathering all facts surrounding the situation. The organization is cooperating fully with the process.”
Baer and his wife, Pamela, were taped by an onlooker in the midst of a physical altercation in a San Francisco plaza on Friday, where Baer appeared to be grabbing at a cell phone in his seated wife’s hand. The struggle sent her to the ground, screaming “Oh my God no!” The video was released by TMZ.
After the incident, both Baer and his wife made separate, public statements.
Baer called the incident a “heated argument in public over a family matter,” and later issued a public apology. Pam Baer said that she and her husband had an argument in public during which she took his cell phone, and he wanted it back. She did not want to give it back.
“I started to get up and the chair I was sitting in began to tip,” Pamela said through her lawyer. “Due to an injury I sustained in my foot three days ago, I lost my balance. I did not sustain any injury based on what happened today. Larry and I always have been and still are happily married.”
Because Major League Baseball’s zero-tolerance domestic abuse policy applies equally to any employee or management personnel in MLB, Baer is being investigated not only by San Francisco police, but by MLB itself. Complicating matters is the fact that Baer is the Giants’ “control person,” who represents the club in league decisions. It’s not clear who will take that role. The next owners meeting is in June.
It’s also unclear who would work with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi on personnel decisions, like trades and free agent signings. Baer played a major role in the team’s pursuit of Bryce Harper before he signed a 13-year, $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies. Zaidi has the authority to make decisions on his own, but Baer has always had an advise-and-consent role, especially concerning moves of the magnitude that Harper’s signing would have been.
“Mr. Baer has acknowledged that his behavior was unacceptable, apologized to the organization and is committed to taking steps to make sure that this never happens again,” the organization said.
During Baer’s leave of absence, the Board has asked the Giants executive team to manage the day to day operations of the of the club, reporting directly to the Board.
“As leaders in the community, we at the Giants hold ourselves to the highest standards and those standards will guide how we consider this matter moving forward,” the team said in a statement.
The statement concluded that the Giants would be making no further comment. A statement by Major League Baseball said it would investigate, as it does in “any other situations like this.”